(by Dennis B. Horne)
In 1920 there appeared in the Improvement Era a long treatise by Elder Joseph Fielding Smith on “The Origin and Destiny of Man.” From today’s perspective, it has the same weakness as his book of similar name—the scientific quotes he used are now over 100 years old and becoming obsolete. But what else was he to do? Today’s scientists will be obsolete in the future also.
An editorial comment accompanying the article noted that Joseph Fielding Smith, “Whose dissertation in this number, on ‘The Origin and Destiny of Man,’ with a side light on evolution, and telling arguments showing its inadequacies and inconsistencies, is worth careful study and a double reading.” We reproduce this document here because its doctrinal teachings remain strong and true, and because BYU biologists need to dismiss President Smith’s teachings else their theories are groundless nonsense:
My Brethren and Sisters:—Throughout the discussion of this topic, I would like you to keep in mind the following passages of scripture:
For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth; but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (I Cor. 2:11-14).
Then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because though a man labor to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea further; though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it (Ecclesiastes 8:17).
The great difficulty with most scientists is that they are searching to find out God and all his works through the spirit of man, which knows not the ways of the Lord which are spiritually discerned. No man by searching, without the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, can find out God. It is the holy Priesthood that “holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom even the key of the knowledge of God; therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest; and without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the Priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh” (D&C 84:19-21). No man by delving into the earth or searching the heavens will learn the way of life and eternal truth by which man is saved, unless he also seeks the guidance of the Spirit of the Lord.
I do not mean to say that no great truth, no wonderful discovery, will be revealed to man by searching the heavens or the earth, for man is bound to see many of the great truths which nature will reveal to all who search. But the great path of safety in searching for truth is in following the teachings of the Lord and his servants, as herein set forth. In no other way will the great mystery of life be revealed.
Abraham was a scientist, the greatest astronomer, perhaps, that this world has seen. He knew more about the stars, their times and seasons, than all the astronomers of this “enlightened age” put together, because, as you read in the third chapter of the Book of Abraham, he was taught of God. The Lord revealed to him many great truths pertaining to other earths and the inhabitants thereof, and by the Urim and Thummim he was able to see them in a manner far beyond the scope of modern devices for the study of the heavens to reveal.
Let me call your attention to the fact that all down through the ages the teachings of science have had to be changed. Many there are who would blame these false teachings of the past to the church; but this cannot be done successfully, notwithstanding the fact that for the greater part of the past two millenniums, the Church of God has not been on the earth, and that which was called the church was but a man-made organization. Theories that were taught two or three hundred years ago, we laugh at today, because we think we have superior light. It was a scientific teaching at that time that the earth was flat; that the sun, moon and stars revolved around the earth, which was the biggest thing in all the universe. This makes us smile today because we know it is not true. Abraham, thousands of years ago, knew better than that and taught that this earth was one of the smaller bodies in the heavens.
We need not laugh at the foolish doctrines of the dark ages, whether they be promulgated by false religionists or by the scientists of that day, for even now we are confronted by theories that are far more foolish than the doctrine of the middle ages that the earth was flat. One of these I shall discuss somewhat tonight. However, before we take this subject up, let me say that the scientist of today is constantly forced to change his base. Theories which were advanced as absolute truth, or as nearly so as theory could be, less than a quarter of a century ago, are today cast into the discard as useless or false. I remember when I went to school twenty-five years ago, the “atomic theory” of matter was universally taught and set forth as absolute truth. That theory has been abandoned. This theory sets forth that the atom is the unit of matter, beyond which matter cannot be divided, and this thought was emphatically impressed upon our minds. James Clark Maxwell, in an address before the British Association a few years ago, said that atoms are the “foundation stones of the visible universe, which have existed since the creation unbroken and unworn.” Sir John Herschel, the great astronomer, has gone on record as follows: that the atom “throughout its endless history responded to and behaved under the influence of external forces in due accordance with its shape and size. But it was unchangeable, inert and brute, the sport of its surroundings, like the mote in the sunbeam.”
Commenting on this thought Dr. Saleeby has said:
But today we stand amazed at such conceptions. We have learnt that within the atoms of matter there is a fund of energy so incalculably vast that the sum total of all the energies previously recognized, and now to be styled extra-atomic, is as nothing compared with it. This is a change indeed, that all the energies hitherto known to us should be merely the overflow trickling from the immeasurable ocean of the intra-atomic energy, the very existence of which has been formally and repeatedly denied by practically all thinkers from Plato down to our own time. Matter is not gross and inert. * * * The atom, so-called unchangeable foundation stone is, on the contrary, itself an organism, the theatre of titanic forces about which we at present know practically nothing.
Dr. C. E. Limebarger in his Physics, published in 1910, has this to say:
The particles of a substance which are so small that they cannot be divided further without destroying the identity of the substance are called molecules. These molecules are in turn made up of atoms which, when the word was coined, were supposed themselves to be indivisible; but they are now known to be composed of particles thousands of times smaller yet, called corpuscles or electrons. (Text-Book on Physics, page 3.)
Another doctrine that was universally taught when I went to school, but since abandoned, I wish to dwell upon for a moment. This is the Nebular Hypothesis of Laplace. This doctrine, as explained by Dr. William Johnson Sollas, professor of geology at Oxford, was as follows:
Laplace's theory conceived of a vast nebula filling the whole space of the solar system and rotating around a central axis; the outer and thinner part has much greater movement than the denser central mass, finally being thrown off as a ring, which in turn rolled up into a ball still following the same course as the ring had followed. Thus the earth broke off from the sun and the moon from the earth. This theory is, however, no longer credited by scientists (Man and the Universe, page 83).
Again he writes:
A fundamental difficulty is the extreme tenuity of the gas which is assumed to have formed the planetary rings. A second difficulty, which has been emphasized by Professors Chamberlain and Moulton, is to be found in the comparatively small amount of rotational energy which the system at present possesses, for this is less than 1-200 of that which on the most favorable assumption, must have been contained within the original nebula. Less fundamental, but equally fatal, is the fact that one of the satellites of Saturn revolves round its primary in a direction opposed to that of the rotation of the planet itself.
Here let me add that it is stated by astronomers that the satellites of both Uranus and Neptune also have retrograde motion, in conflict with this theory. But, to proceed with the comment:
Hence, for these and other reasons we are reluctantly compelled to abandon an hypothesis which for over a century had exercised an influence on our conception of the cosmos not less profound, penetrating and far-reaching than that of the famous Darwinian doctrine of natural selection, now on its trial (Man and the Universe, page 82).
The reason I have taken so much time to refer to these two theories, now abandoned, is to impress upon your minds the fact that we should be extremely careful in accepting the theories of men, no matter how well they may be supported by scientific authority, unless they can be demonstrated beyond a doubt. Why will men ridicule the word of the Lord, and yet accept without question doubtful theories, simply because they travel under the guise of science?
I now come to the question which is before us. “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet.” Such is the testimony of David, the poet and sweet singer of Israel. But this is not the doctrine of the scientific world, for people have gone astray after strange and false gods, and have denied the Lord who bought them with his blood.
The theory which prevails today regarding the origin of man is that all life has developed from some common origin, spontaneously; that man, fish, fowl, and beast, and even the vegetation upon the earth, all have sprung from the same original germ, which formed itself out of the sea, millions of years ago, in the vague and distant past. In fact, the theory did go back even to the nebulae of Laplace. Listen to this testimony from Alfred Russell Wallace, who, with Charles Darwin, shares the “honor” of the discovery of the “law of natural selection:”
It is only during the past half century that the theory of evolution has been elaborated and has become generally accepted as applicable to the whole of the vast cosmic process from the development of the nebulae into stars and suns and systems, with a corresponding development of planets from an early condition of intense heat, through a more or less lengthy period of cooling and contraction to an ultimate state of refrigeration, the earlier and later stages being alike unsuited to the existence of life—”How Life Became Possible on the Earth,” History of the World, pages 91-2).
This theory assumes as a fact that life, millions of years ago, originated itself spontaneously. This is the foundation of the theory of evolution. The question naturally arises, if spontaneous generation could be possible then, is it possible now? If not, why not? I have here a very excellent discussion of this point by Dr. C. W. Saleeby, from an article entitled, “The Beginning of Life on the Earth,” and I trust you will pardon me if I read from it at length. It is too good to miss, especially as Dr. Saleeby is also an advocate of this foolish and most astonishing theory! He says:
Now, in the ever memorable year 1859, Charles Darwin published a volume, the main thesis of which is now universally accepted, wherein the following is the last sentence: 'There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning, endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.” The Origin of Species may be said, in a word, to establish the doctrine of the evolution of living organisms upon the earth “by laws acting around us”—to use Darwin's own phrase. But Darwin's work begins with and assumes the existence of life as an established planetary fact. There obviously remains a tremendous gap in the evolutionary philosophy as it stands in our statement of it thus far; and the first fact which we have to note is that the existence and recognition of this supposed gap, so far from being a matter of common recognition from the earliest times, so far from being an observation made by the critics of the doctrine of evolution, is, on the contrary, a special doctrine peculiar to scientific study and of quite recent origin, being indeed established—as was supposed—within the memory of many now living. * * *
Partly to the influence of Genesis, partly to the apparent facts of observation, and partly to the views which would naturally be held by poets and thinkers, we may attribute the belief which has been held by man, simple and philosophic alike, since first men began to think, until, we may say, the third quarter of the nineteenth century—the belief that the lowest of living things arose by a natural genesis or so-called spontaneous generation in suitable materials already provided on the land or in the sea. It was not suggested or believed that very large and conspicuous living creatures were thus bred, though it is true that the ancients thought even crocodiles to be generated by the action of the sun upon the slime of the Nile. The living creatures supposed to arise naturally in the earth—the all mother—were mostly small creatures like insects and worms. The ordinary belief of the uninstructed today—a belief which they share with the greatest thinkers of antiquity and the Renaissance—is that the cheese-mite, for instance, is evolved from the substance of the cheese. Now, it is of particular moment to observe the vast contrast between the significance of this belief prior to the publication of The Origin of Species and its significance today. Before we accepted the doctrine of organic evolution, the supposed spontaneous origin of the cheese-mite in cheese, or of the maggot in putrid meat, was of no very great moment; a maggot or a cheese-mite is an extremely insignificant object. So far as the great problems of the universe are concerned, a cheese-mite, as we say, is neither “here nor there,” and its spontaneous generation was not regarded as a fact of any moment.
But then arose Darwin, who, in establishing the doctrine of organic evolution already supported by his own grandfather, by Lamarck, and Goethe, and Herbert Spencer, gave an entirely new importance to the question. He demonstrated how we could conceive the evolution of all organisms, including man from a “few simple forms,” under the continuous influence of natural law; and thus such forms ceased to be insignificant, and the manner of their genesis came to be vital problems in more senses than one. Such organisms—the mite, the maggot, and even the mould,—could no longer be regarded as insignificant. * * *
The scientist, therefore, endeavoring to substantiate this doctrine, set forth by Darwin and others, went to work to ascertain whether or not there really was today spontaneous generation. For years such men as Huxley, Tyndall, Spencer, and Pasteur, labored diligently along this line. Their conclusions are thus set forth by this same author whom I quote:
Now, the remarkable fact—one of the most striking in the history of science is that the time-honored belief in spontaneous generation should have been attacked, and attacked with apparent success, just at the very time when it would otherwise have begun to assume real philosophic importance. For ages it had been accepted, taken as a matter of course, and not regarded as having any particular bearing upon the supreme question. Then there came the time when this belief would have been an all important link, without which the chain of evolution could not be completed, a link without which we were left to contemplate a perfect chain of inorganic evolution—the history of the earth before life—and a perfect chain of organic evolution—the history of life upon the earth, with an abyss between the two that could not be bridged, for how came life where there was no life? A series of experiments were made—experiments in which, strikingly enough, some of the greatest evolutionists of the day took a leading part, and these seemed to upset, just when it was most wanted by themselves for the establishment of their new doctrine, the belief which had gone without question for so many ages.
Now, some may be inclined to wonder how it should be that certain pioneers of the new doctrine of evolution, such as Tyndall and Huxley, should devote themselves with such persistence and labor and force to the overthrow of a doctrine which was so necessary for the complete establishment of their own case—so much so, that when they had overthrown it, they found themselves, as regards their own doctrine of evolution, placed in a difficulty from which they did not live to emerge. * * *
Let me add right here, neither has any other man lived to emerge from such a contradictory position. All their research, as we shall see, to prove spontaneous generation, has failed. To continue our quotation:
It is well worth noting that the common doctrine of spontaneous generation was always held in reference to organic materials, such as the slime of the Nile—not the dry sand of the desert. The reader may be inclined to say that men's belief on this subject in the past generation make very confused reading, and, indeed, that is true. But the fact is that their beliefs were most confused. The work of Darwin had staggered everybody, and straightforward, systematic, unprejudiced thinking was very nearly impossible in the welter of controversy. Nevertheless, something apparently definite was done. The doctrine of the beginning of life upon the earth was almost undiscussed, and the accepted notion of the nature of matter—a notion which to us who know radium, seems puerile—was left unchallenged in all its falsity. But the work of the great French chemist Pasteur led to a close examination of the belief that humble forms of life are daily produced from lifeless organic materials, and the conclusion was reached that no such spontaneous generation occurs.
This conclusion is of great importance in the history of modern thought, and it was proclaimed with much rejoicing and vigor as a great achievement of science, whilst some of its chief advocates seemed at times to forget the extreme awkwardness of the inferences which had to be made from it. The doctrine may be stated in Latin in the form of the familiar dogma, Omne vivum ex vivo: Every living thing from a living thing. * * * For every creature, microbe or mammoth or man, we must trace back in imagination a series of living ancestors, different perhaps in various characters, but always living. This series must be traced back and back and back until—?
And there the difficulty arose.
Now, mark very carefully this line of reasoning:
Thus, whether “omne vivum ex vivo” be true or false today, we are compelled to accept the only other alternative, which is that it has not always been true, or, in other words, that life was spontaneously evolved from the lifeless (so-called), at some remote age in the past.
I pause again to remark, that we are not compelled to do anything of the kind, if we are willing to accept what the Lord has revealed, but I will come to this part of the subject later. The author continues:
Just at the present time philosophic biology is out of fashion. Minds of the great cast which endeavor to see things in their eternal aspect have been lacking to the science of life since the days when Huxley and Spencer were in the plentitude of their powers. * * * In the absence of that deliberate thought and discussion without which clear ideas on any subject are impossible, what may be called the official opinion of biology at the present time is thus most remarkable and contradictory. On the one hand it is strenuously asserted as a matter of dogma that at the present day no life is produced or producible upon the earth except by the process of reproduction of previously existing life; and on the other hand it is asserted—when the direct question is put, though otherwise the subject is simply ignored—that life somehow or other has been naturally evolved in the past, presumably once and for all. I have called this opinion more contradictory and unsatisfactory than it may at present appear. The obvious question that the critic asks is: “If then, why not now?”
Well, is not this a very proper and pertinent question? If hundreds of millions of years ago—and the evolutionist will put it back that far, or very much farther—spontaneous life was developed, why can it not be produced now? If not by the action of nature, then by the many facilities of the laboratory? Yet it has not been done! This method of arguing has led Mr. A. H. Craufurd in Christian Instincts and Modern Doubt to remark very properly:
Materialistic philosophy is mere juggling or self-deceiving. It fancies that time, millions of years, will somehow perform the impossible. It waits for difficulties to flow away, as the simple-minded rustic in Horace waited for the stream. By distributing its stupendous miracles through endless aeons, by introducing them bit by bit into the scheme of the world, materialism hopes to make them credible and natural, and so to evade all recognition of the unfathomable primal mystery. But the fundamental laws of thought care nothing for time. They are the same yesterday, today and forever (p. 71).
I have a few more words I desire to quote from Dr. Saleeby. He says:
Now it happens to be true that every difference between past and present conditions which physics and geology and chemistry can assert tends to the probability that if spontaneous generation is impossible now, it must have been a hundred fold more impossible a hundred million years ago. Yet, for three decades the great majority of biologists have been content to believe that spontaneous generation is impossible now, even though land and sea and sky are packed with organic matter under the very conditions which obviously favor life—as the all but omnipresence of life abundant today demonstrates—but that spontaneous generation was possible in the past when, by the hypothesis, there was no organic matter present at all, and when life had to arise in the union and architecture of such simple substances as inorganic carbonates! Such biologists are like those who know that the human organism can be developed from the microscopic germ in a few years, but find it incredible that man can have been developed from lowly organisms in eaons of eaons. Nor has any living biologist even attempted to make an adequate answer to the question, why what is impossible now should have been possible a hundred million years ago. On the contrary, as soon as the matter is looked at philosophically, we see that all the probabilities, all the analogies, all the great generalizations of science, are in favor of the belief that life must be arising from the lifeless, now, as in the past, whenever certain conditions, such as the assemblage of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen in the presence of liquid water, are satisfied.
Let me ask you at this point, after considering the question of spontaneous generation and showing even by the evolutionist's own reasoning and research that it is an impossibility, have you ever before witnessed such wonderful credulity? Such enormous stretch of the imagination, on the part of the religious teacher, advocating the doctrines of the Redeemer of the world, would not be tolerated for one minute. Surely this “miracle of unbelief” is mighty and has a wonderful influence over the mind of man!
Now give attention to this man's conclusion:
The student is right in declining to believe in the spontaneous beginning of life upon the earth, so long as the possibility of spontaneous generation today is denied, but there are not a few who think that the most conservative attitude that can be adopted is one of suspended judgment.
Yet the suspended judgment of the evolutionist is not applied towards the Lord's own account of the genesis of things. Such is consistency!
There is another suggestion advanced by some, including Lord Kelvin, to the effect that life was transplanted here by means of some meteor or comet which came in contact with the earth. But so long as man rejects the revealed word of the Lord on this point, this does not help the situation in the least. It only pushes the beginning back a little farther and the natural question is: How came that life on some other sphere?
Having shown the fallacy of the foundation of the hypothesis of evolution—and I would have you keep in mind the fact that it is only a hypothesis, notwithstanding the firm belief of so many of its advocates—I desire to present to you some of the wonderful arguments set forth by Mr. Darwin, founder of the theory. I have here his book called, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, edition of 1897. I read from pages 12-13:
Rudiments of various muscles have been observed in many parts of the human body; and not a few muscles, which are regularly present in some of the lower animals can occasionally be detected in man in a greatly reduced condition. Every one must have noticed the power which many animals, especially horses, possess of moving or twitching their skin; and this is effected by the panniculus carnosus. Remnants of this muscle in an efficient state are found in various parts of our bodies; for instance the muscle of the forehead, by which the eyebrows are raised. The platysma myoides, which are well developed on the neck, belong to this system.
Now, according to such argument as this, all you good people who are able to wrinkle your foreheads and raise your eyebrows give evidence of your relationship to the horse. This is very wonderful reasoning, is it not? Here is another choice bit of reasoning, from page 19:
I am informed by Sir James Paget that often several members of a family have a few hairs in their eyebrows much longer than the others; so that even this slight peculiarity seems to be inherited. These hairs, too, seem to have their representatives; for in the chimpanzee, and in certain species of macacos, there are scattered hairs of considerable length rising from the naked skin above the eyes, and corresponding to our eyebrows; similar long hairs project from the hairy covering of the superciliary ridges in some baboons.
Again, the argument is, that all of you, who, like myself—for I am one of the unfortunates who belong to this class—have some hairs in your eyebrows longer than their fellows, are related to the chimpanzee and the baboons. Again I read, from pages 24-25:
With respect to development, we can clearly understand, on the principle of variations supervening at a rather late embryonic period, and being inherited at a corresponding period, how it is that the embryos of wonderfully different forms should still retain, more or less perfectly, the structure of their common progenitor. No other explanation has ever been given of the marvelous fact that the embryos of a man, dog, seal, bat, reptile, etc., can at first hardly be distinguished from each other. In order to understand the existence of rudimentary organs, we have only to suppose—and here again I say that throughout this work there is much supposition, surmise and exercise of powerful imagination—that a former progenitor possessed the parts in question in a perfect state, and that under changed habits of life they became greatly reduced, either from simple disuse, or through the natural selection of those individuals which were least encumbered with a superfluous part, aided by the other means previously indicated.
I would have far more respect for this line of reasoning if, perchance, the embryo of man, the dog, seal, bat, reptile, etc., should occasionally make a mistake and develop into something which it is not. If for instance, the embryo of man, which is said to be the higher order in this descent, should develop into a snake, bat or seal, etc., but we discover the fact to be just what the Lord has said, he gave to each to bear seed “after its kind.” Concluding this argument, Mr. Darwin adds:
Thus we can understand how it has come to pass that man and all other vertebrate animals have been constructed on the same general model, why they pass through the same early states of development, and why they retain certain rudiments in common. Consequently we ought frankly to admit their community of descent; to take any other view, is to admit that our own structure, and that of all the animals around us, is a mere snare laid to entrap our judgment. * * * It is only our natural prejudice, and that arrogance which made our forefathers declare that they were descended from demi-gods, which lead us to demur to this conclusion. But the time will before long come, when it will be thought wonderful that naturalists, who were well acquainted with the comparative structure and development of man, and other mammals, should have believed that each was the work of a separate act of creation (page 25).
I will have more to say later about the belief of our forefathers regarding the descent of man from the gods, and the separate creation. Just now I desire to present more “evidence” from Mr. Darwin. I read from page 41:
He who rejects with scorn the belief that the shape of his own canines, and their occasional great development in other men, are due to our early forefathers having been provided with these formidable weapons, will probably reveal, by sneering, the line of his descent. For though he no longer intends, nor has the power, to use these teeth as weapons, he will unconsciously retract his “snarling muscles” (thus named by Sir C. Bell), so as to expose them ready for action, like a dog prepared to fight (page 41).
From this you gather the thought that Mr. Darwin thinks you have descended from the dog, or some other animal that snarls and bites, just because you have “canine” teeth. Time will not permit me to multiply these quotations, but there are a few more that I must present. This is from page 148, from the chapter on “Affinities and Genealogy:”
Every evolutionist will admit that the five great vertebrate classes, namely, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fishes, are descended from some one prototype; for they have much in common, especially during their embryonic state. As the class of fishes is the most lowly organized, and appeared before the others, we may conclude that all the members of the vertebrate kingdom are derived from some fish-like animal. The belief that animals so distinct as a monkey, an elephant, a humming bird, a snake, a frog, and a fish, etc., could all have sprung from the same parents, will appear monstrous to those who have not attended to the recent progress of natural history. For this belief implies the former existence of links binding closely together all these forms, now so utterly unlike (page 158).
It is most wonderful what evolutionists will admit and imply in order to maintain their point. I also will admit that it takes a most fearful stretch of the imagination to believe that the five great classes here enumerated “are descended from some one prototype,” for the evidence is largely imaginative, and not based on fact. Here is another strange statement:
At a still earlier period the progenitors of man must have been aquatic in their habits; for morphology plainly tells us that our lungs consist of a modified swim-bladder, which once served as a float (page 161).
Just because our lungs are light and made of such a nature that they will float—as such must be the case, for they were made to hold the air we breathe—such a far-fetched conclusion as this must be reached. Yet this is the nature of the argument in favor of the evolutionary theory, all the way through. I remember reading a short time back in a scientific work—the author's name I do not recall—the declaration that the reason why a man will grasp for a straw, or any substance within his reach, when he is in danger of drowning, is due to the fact that his ancestors at one time swung from branch to branch and from tree to tree. The same reason was given for the desire of boys to swing on a trapeze. The same author stated that babies crawled before they walked because their ancestors at one time went on all fours before they stood erect. Could you think of any argument more foolish than these which are given by authors who wrote in all soberness? With the same consistency I might argue that the moon is made of cheese, because it is round and appears yellow, as it rises over the hills.
Well, what does this kind of trash, when taken seriously, lead one to believe? That there is no God! The doctrine that is set forth in the scriptures and the doctrine of the evolutionist cannot be made to agree. In fact, all who carry this notion back to the full extent, openly declare that religion is, like everything else, a matter of evolutionary development. To be consistent, this must be their belief, and so Mr. Darwin has declared. Let me quote again:
Belief in God—Religion. There is no evidence that man was aboriginally endowed with the ennobling belief in the existence of an Omnipotent God. On the contrary there is ample evidence derived not from hasty travelers, but from men who have long resided with savages, that numerous races have existed, and still exist, who have no idea of one or more gods, and who have no words in their language to express such an idea. The question is, of course, wholly distinct from that higher one, whether there exists a Creator and ruler of the universe, and this has been answered in the affirmative by some of the highest intellects that have ever existed.
If, however, we include under the term “religion,” the belief in unseen or spiritual agencies, the case is wholly different; for this belief seems to be universal with the less civilized races. Nor is it difficult to comprehend how it arose. As soon as the important faculties of the imagination, wonder, and curiosity, together with some power of reasoning, had become partially developed, man would naturally crave to understand what was passing around him, and would have vaguely speculated on his own existence. As Mr. M'Lennan has remarked, “Some explanation of the phenomena of life, a man must feign for himself and to judge from the universality of it, the simplest hypothesis, and the first to occur to men, seems to have been that natural phenomena are ascribable to the presence in animals, plants, and things, and in the forces of nature, of such spirits prompting to action as men are conscious they themselves possess.” It is also probable, as Mr. Taylor has shown, that dreams may have first given rise to the notion of spirits; for savages do not readily distinguish between subjective and objective impressions (pages 93-4).
Mr. Elwood, in his work on Sociology declares that the beginning of the belief in the existence of spirits was due to the fact that primitive man saw his shadow and this gave him the idea of a dual existence. Now, my brethren and sisters, that is what this abominable doctrine will lead you to. I say most emphatically, you cannot believe in this theory of the origin of man, and at the same time accept the plan of salvation as set forth by the Lord our God. You must choose the one and reject the other, for they are in direct conflict and there is a gulf separating them which is so great that it cannot be bridged, no matter how much one may try to do so. If you believe in the doctrine of the evolutionist, then you must accept the view that man has evolved through countless ages from the very lowest forms of life up through various stages of animal life, finally into the human form. The first man, according to this hypothesis known as the “cave man,” was a creature absolutely ignorant and devoid of any marked intelligence over the beasts of the field. Then Adam, and by that I mean the first man, was not capable of sin. He could not transgress, and by doing so bring death into the world; for, according to this theory, death had always been in the world. If, therefore, there was no fall, there was no need of an atonement, hence the coming into the world of the Son of God as the Savior of the world is a contradiction, a thing impossible. Are you prepared to believe such a thing as that? Do you believe that the first man was a savage? That he lacked in the power of intelligence? That he has been on the constant road of progression? These are the teachings of such theorists. This is how Mr. Darwin attacks the doctrine of the scriptures:
The argument recently advanced by the Duke of Argyll, and formerly by Archbishop Whately, in favor of the belief that man came into the world as a civilized being, and that all savages have since undergone degradation, seems to me weak in comparison with those advanced on the other side. Many nations, no doubt, have fallen away in civilization, and some may have lapsed into utter barbarism, though on this latter head I have met with no evidence. The Fuegians were probably compelled by other conquering hordes to settle in their inhospitable country, and they may have become in consequence somewhat more degraded; but it would be difficult to prove that they have fallen much below the Botocudos, who inhabit the finest parts of Brazil.
You see, right here, if you believe in the Book of Mormon, that the very evidence that he presents is his own refutation. We who accept the word of the Lord in the Book of Mormon, know that at one time the ancestors of these degraded people in Brazil were highly cultured. But these descendants today are among the lowest of mankind. I would like to call your attention to an article which I prepared for the Improvement Era for April, 1919, in which is portrayed the former greatness of the inhabitants of Peru. When the Spaniards invaded that land, they found a people who were without a written language, whose former glory and greatness had departed. And yet, in that land evidence is still to be seen of a former civilization that in many respects surpassed that of Babylon and the ancient empires of the east.
The hypothesis of evolution very properly has been said to appear as a “pyramid poised upon its apex, but the apex itself resting upon nothing.” Do not think for one moment that all scientists are foolish enough to swallow without a gulp this peculiar doctrine of the descent of man. Dr. Frank Ballard, himself a scientist, in his work entitled, The Miracles of Unbelief, has this to say:
Now in this case [the Darwinian theory of evolution] it is manifest at the very outset that all things must have caused themselves to be as they are, for no cause outside themselves is alleged or allowed. Then, for such a process, both material and method are to seek. The only conclusion logically possible is that ultimately the material was nothing, and the method was chance. But truly, if chance working upon nothing has produced this universe, including ourselves, such a stupendous and absolute violation of all we know to be natural and rational has been accomplished, that all the difficulties of Theism and all the miracles of Christianity together, are literally as nothing compared with it (p. 55).
Another writer, and one who accepts the Darwinian theory, has this to say:
Of the beginning, of what was before the present state of things, we know nothing, and speculation about it is futile. But since everything points to the finite duration of the present universe, we must make a start somewhere. And we are therefore compelled to posit a primordial nebulous non-luminous state, when the atoms with their inherent forces and energies stood apart from one another. * * * All changes of state are due to the rearrangement of atoms through the play of attracting forces and repelling energies, resulting in the evolution of the seeming like into the actual unlike, of the shapeless into the shapely, of the simple into the more and more complex, till the highest complexity is reached in the development of living matter (Mr. E. Clodd, in the Story of Creation and Plain Account of Evolution, page 137).
Could anything be more contradictory than this? Does it not show the straits to which the advocates of this hypothesis are put to make their point? Could you possibly think of anything more foolish and inconsistent than the foregoing argument, which sets forth that of the beginning we know nothing and speculation is futile, and then to confess that, in order to bolster up the curious belief, a start must be made somewhere? What do you think of such reasoning as this?
I would like very much to spend some time on the questions of “Natural Selection” and “Reversion to Type,” two of the favorite themes of Mr. Darwin in the structure of his theory, but time will not permit. I will let it suffice to say, that there are many insurmountable difficulties which the evolutionist encounters in the treatment of these subjects. It is exceedingly difficult for them to explain why the course of descent from some common ancestor, under the same environment has produced so many different forms of life. A successful explanation will never be given by the advocates of this faith
I trust I may be pardoned for dealing at such length with this idiotic hypothesis. I would not have done so, only for the fact that so many advocate this theory, and it has found a place in most of our schools. Whenever I think of the subject, I remember the prophecy of Paul to the Thessalonians: “And for this cause God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie; that they all might be damned who believe not the truth, but have pleasure in unrighteousness.”
I now come to the main topic in this discussion: From whence came man? What is his destiny? It is to me exceedingly strange that men will travel so far, following a will-o-the-wisp until they are overcome in the quagmire, and reject the truth at their door. For an answer to these questions, why not accept the statement of the One who knows? This knowledge is within the reach of all. The story is a simple one but its grandeur is as far above the doctrine of the evolutionist as the heavens are above the depths of hell. It is true that the school of evolutionists is divided into the two great classes, the Theistic and the Atheistic branches. But the Theistic evolutionist is a weak-kneed and unbelieving religionist, who is constantly apologizing for the miracles of the scriptures, and who does not believe in the divine mission of Jesus Christ. Again I repeat, no man can consistently accept the doctrine of the evolutionist and also believe in the divine mission of our Redeemer. The two thoughts are in absolute conflict. You cannot harmonize them and serve both masters. If life began on the earth, as advocated by Darwin, Huxley, Haeckel, (who has been caught openhanded perpetrating a fraud) and others of this school, whether by chance or by some designing hand, then the doctrines of the Church are false. Then there was no Garden of Eden, no Adam and Eve, and no fall. If there was no fall; if death did not come into the world as the scriptures declared that it did,—and to be consistent, if you are an evolutionist, this view you must assume—then there was no need for a redemption, and Jesus Christ is not the Son of God, and he did not die for the transgression of Adam, nor for the sins of the world. Then there has been no resurrection from the dead! Consistently, logically, there is no other view, no alternative that can be taken. Now, my brethren and sisters, are you prepared to take this view?
I know that my Redeemer lives, and that there is no name given other than that of Jesus Christ, whereby man can be saved. This is my testimony unto you. If we cannot rely upon the written word, the revelations of the Lord, then our faith is vain, and there is no salvation for the children of men. I accept the word of the Lord to his prophets, for I know it is true. In the first chapter of Genesis, verse 27, this great revelation is found: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” This being true, man being the offspring of God, he was not placed on the earth as a “cave man” a savage devoid of intelligence and resembling more the ape than man. Adam, the first man on the earth, was an intelligent being, so filled with vitality after the fall, and perfect in form, that he lived upon the earth nearly one thousand years. Then in the last verse of this chapter we learn that, “God saw everything that he made and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” Now mark carefully the reading of the next verse, the first of chapter two: “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.” Now, if all the host of the heavens and of the earth were finished at that time, then all of you were made, and so with all things that now appear upon the earth, or which have been in times that are past. This is a very significant passage, but the full force of it cannot be gathered from the reading of the Bible. The Lord has revealed to Joseph Smith what he actually did say to Moses in giving him the account of the creation. This Bible account has been tampered with, and many things that would make it clear have been removed. Let me read to you this account from the Pearl of Great Price:
And now, behold, I say unto you, that these are the generations of the heaven and of the earth, when they were created, in the day that I, the Lord God, made the heaven and the earth.
And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew. For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth. For I, the Lord God, had not caused it to rain upon the face of the earth. And I, the Lord God, had created all the children of men; and not yet a man to till the ground; for in heaven created I them; and there was not yet flesh upon the earth, neither in the water, neither in the air.
This account throws a flood of light upon the first verse of chapter two in Genesis. All things are of a dual nature, even the plants, as well as the beasts, and the fowls, and the fish, as also man. All things were created spiritually first. The temporal creation followed, and the temporal is in the likeness of the spiritual, man, the greatest of all, being in the image of God. Nor could he be otherwise, for man is his offspring. This is the testimony of Paul as given to the Greeks, who believed that man was the descendant of the gods, which called forth the severe criticism of Mr. Darwin. Well, if the Greeks were wrong, they at least came much nearer the truth than did Mr. Charles Darwin and the advocates of the one-germ origin of man. Paul says:
And [God] hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring (Acts 17:26-28).
There is something ennobling in this thought, that we are his offspring. Again, in Hebrews, we read: “Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits and live?” This thought is constantly expressed throughout the scriptures. Another thought we must not overlook, in the instruction of Paul. That is that all men have been made from one blood, and the Lord, before the nations were upon the earth, determined the bounds of their habitations. Another passage from Deuteronomy 32:8 confirms this view of the matter; it is as follows:
When the Most High, divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.
Yet, when the Lord separated the sons of Adam and made these bounds, Israel was not upon the earth. But the children of Israel were created and had been segregated in the spirit world to play their part upon the earth at a later day.
Again, if you believe in modern revelation, if you accept the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, then you must believe that man is the offspring of God, and if so he was not evolved from a tadpole, or from the scum of the sea. Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon declare, in all soberness, in the Vision (D&C 76) that they saw the Lord our God upon his throne, and “saw the holy angels, and they who are sanctified before his throne, worshiping God, and the Lamb, who worship him for ever and ever.” And this testimony they have given to the world: “And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony last of all, which we give of him, that he (Christ) lives. For we saw him, even on the right hand of God, and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father. That by him and through him, and of him the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.”
O what a wonderful revelation is this! How glad we ought to be to know that we are not only created in the image of our heavenly Father, but that we are begotten sons and daughters unto him! Mark you, the expression here given is that the worlds are and were created by him, and the inhabitants thereof, not of this world only, are begotten sons and daughters unto God! How silly, foolish, contemptible, are the teachings of evolution when contrasted with the truth! What do you think of the wisdom of “learned” men, who seek for the beginning of life on this little speck—the earth upon which we dwell? Compared to the great creations of the Lord, our earth is insignificant. Yet scientists, searching in the spirit and wisdom of man, discuss the point and wonder if there is life anywhere else in the universe outside of this little earth!
I tell you life did not commence upon this earth spontaneously. Its origin was not here. Life existed long before our solar system was called into being. The fact is, there never was a time when man—made in the image of God, male and female—did not exist. The Lord revealed to Joseph Smith the truth that man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. Moreover, that “the Spirit of truth is of God. I am the Spirit of truth, and John bore record of me, saying—He received a fulness of truth, yea, even all truth, and no man receiveth a fulness unless he keepeth his commandments.” (D&C 93:26.) These are the words of the Lord to Moses: “And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for my own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten. * * * And the Lord God spake unto Moses, saying, the heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine. And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof, even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words. For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Pearl of Great Price, p. 6-7.)
Thus the Lord has given us the information regarding his creations, and how he has made many earths, for there never was a beginning, never was a time when man did not exist somewhere in the universe, and when the time came for this earth to be peopled the Lord, our God, transplanted upon it from some other earth, the life which is found here. Man he created in his own image. If it were our privilege to go out and visit some of the other creations, other worlds in space, we should discover that they are peopled with beings who look like us, for they, too, are the offspring of God, and of the same race from whence we came. Perhaps they would be more exalted, but, nevertheless, they would be in the image of God, and so are we. Adam was not a “cave man,” but perhaps the most nearly perfect man in form and feature to our Father and Creator. Such is the testimony of Joseph Smith. Neither was he left without language and under the necessity of working out his earthly existence from a state of absolute ignorance. The theory of those who would destroy the work of the Lord is that the language of the first men was but a few monosyllables, or grunts; that language came, as did other knowledge, gradually. This is not true. The Lord has said of the language of Adam, the first man:
And a book of remembrance was kept, in the which was recorded, in the language of Adam, for it was given unto as many as called upon God, to write by the spirit of inspiration;
And by them their children were taught to read and write, having a language which was pure and undefiled (P. of G. P., page 27).
It was not until man forsook the divine guidance which the Lord was always willing to extend to him, that retrogression set in. The “cave-man” and the savage are products of transgression and sin; for, in the beginning man was intelligent, and directed by light and truth, even by the Savior, Jesus Christ, who is the Mediator between man and God. The destiny of man is to become, through stages of progression, like unto his Father; and after the resurrection from the dead, he shall be added upon, as the scriptures say, until he shall receive all things “which the father hath,” and shall be counted as a son and joint heir with Jesus Christ, the first-fruits of the resurrection and the Savior of the world. This, then, is true evolution, which all Latter-day Saints believe. There is something inspiring ennobling and grand in this view of things, but the other view—which is the doctrine of the devil, who desires all men to be miserable like unto himself, for he was denied a body and the privilege of progression upon this earth—is debasing, and contains not one uplifting or ennobling thought.
Let us abide by the truth and worship the Lord, the giver of every good gift, and remember, as I said in the beginning:
For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
If you desire to know the truth go to the source of truth and light, and you shall not be turned away. So I pray, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. (Joseph Fielding Smith, “The Origin and Destiny of Man,” With a Sidelight on Evolution—the Great “Miracle of Unbelief,” Improvement Era 23:5, March, 1920)